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Western Digital Shutting Down Hard Drive Factory

With the SSD and NAND flash memory markets booming, Western Digital has made the tough decision to shut down its HDD (hard disk drive) manufacturing factory in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by the end of 2019.

Western Digital first opened up shop in Malaysia in 1973. Its 1,000,000 square-foot Petaling Jaya factory commenced operations manufacturing custom semiconductors, but gradually transitioned to producing consumer and enterprise hard drives. Western Digital would then later expand the Petaling Jaya factory with its own $1.2 billlion dollar R&D facility. However, Western Digital has been in a slump the last couple of years.

HGST Technologies Malaysia, one of Western Digital's subsidiaries, closed the doors on its Bayan Lepas factory about two years ago. Once the Petaling Jaya factory goes out of commission, Western Digital will have no other choice but to spread out hard drive production between its remaining factories. Luckily, the major hard drive manufacturer still owns a 1.7 million square-foot facility in Bang Pa-In, Thailand and a 730,000 square-foot production facility in Prachinburi, Thailand. 

However, the closure of Western Digital's Petaling Jaya factory doesn't mean that the American hard-drive manufacturer is giving up on Malaysia. The company has hard drive substrate manufacturing facilities in Johor and Kuching. Western Digital's SSD assembly and test facilities, media manufacturing lines and R&D offices are also situated in Penang. According to a Western Digital spokesperson, the hard drive maker has plans to expand its SSD production capacity. The company is on the verge of opening its second SSD facility at Penang. It expects the facility to start production in the coming months.

Let's not forget that Western Digital forged a strategic joint venture with Toshiba in 2017. So, the hard drive expert already has an arsenal of SSDs at its disposal and it will continue to supply them to markets where there is a decline in demand for conventional hard drives.